The measures were confirmed by health minister Magnus Heunicke at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon and in a Ministry of Health statement.
The 17 municipalities are the central Copenhagen and Frederiksberg municipalities along with Albertslund, Ballerup, Brøndby, Dragør, Gentofte, Gladsaxe, Glostrup, Herlev, Hvidovre, Høje-Taastrup, Ishøj, Lyngby-Taarbæk, Rødovre, Tårnby and Vallensbæk.
The national measures are as follows:
- Stores required to implement one-way system for customer traffic
- National recommendations on floor space (per square metre) per customer to become compulsory, and signs must be placed in shops.
In the 17 Copenhagen municipalities:
- All young people between the age of 17 and 25 asked to take a Covid-19 test
- Christmas shoppers asked to enter stores on their own
- Universities asked to conduct classes and exams online wherever possible
- A limit of 10 people at sporting and club activities for children and youths up to the age of 21 years. Activities for vulnerable children are exempted
- Children in primary education, and people in youth and adult education (grundskolen, ungdoms- og voksenuddannelser) must stay in class groups during lunch breaks
- Students at youth and adult education must not be taught in groups which mix regular classes or year groups
- The government encourages schools to cancel classes in subjects with high infection risk, such as sports or music
- All workplaces asked to facilitate working from home wherever possible.
The restrictions take effect from December 7th and will stay in place until January 2nd 2021. National restrictions already in place remain effective, including those relating to face mask use, assembly limits and sales of alcohol.
The government’s advisory board, including health authorities, recommended the interventions based on relatively high infection rates in Denmark and particularly in the 17 municipalities in question, the ministry said in the statement.
“We are providing extra teams so that all the young people in these municipalities can get a test before Christmas,” Heunicke said at the briefing.
“That is as many as 200,000 tests in the municipalities. We will go out to places of education and do everything we can,” the minister added.
Heunicke said that infections were notably higher amongst the younger age group, with 26 percent of infections in Copenhagen occurring in young people.
“I know it’s a difficult time. You miss friends and parties. But it’s crucial that we stick together and hold on right now. Not least because there’s a vaccine just around the corner,” he said.
- Denmark registers nearly 1,500 new Covid-19 cases in one day
- Nine out of ten Danish Christmas parties cancelled
- Denmark presents Covid-19 vaccination plan
The minister stressed that the message to young people over testing was a request, not an order.
Efforts to mass-test young people in the Copenhagen region will begin on Wednesday in Ishøj and Brøndby before later being rolled out to the remaining municipalities around Copenhagen.
Søren Brostrøm, director of the Danish Health Authority, described the situation in the capital as a “greater Copenhagen epidemic”.
“When we look at the greater Copenhagen epidemic – as I call it – we see a concerning development we are not seeing in other regions,” he said.